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State Regulators Squash Massive Lake Elsinore Power Project

Opposition to the project has been strong in Southwest Riverside County, and there have been financial and regulatory issues.

The California Public Utilities Commission Thursday dismissed a power-line project that would have streteched from Lake Elsinore through the Cleveland National Forest.

The project known as the Talega-Escondido/Valley-Serano power-line project was part of the controversial Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project, or LEAPS, a combination dam and hydropower project proposed by Nevada Hydro Company. The project called for pumping water from Lake Elsinore into a yet-to-be-constructed reservoir. Energy generated would have been transferred through the proposed overhead power lines.

and there have been financial and regulatory issues.

“This power-line project was an ecological and economic disaster waiting to happen,” said Jonathan Evans of the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s time to finally move on from this boondoggle.”

In rejecting the application, California regulators found that the state “cannot afford to squander its resources on applications that, despite more than 18 months of work, remain vague and speculative as to financing and indeed the project itself.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission , and the State Water Resources Control Board denied the project's water-quality certificate in 2009.

The LEAPS project was also the subject of a grand jury investigation that concluded it was “not economically viable."

Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District had backed the project, after the Feds dismissed the project.

"Unfortunately, the failed LEAPS permit process has cost Elsinore Valley’s water district and its ratepayers more than $4 million," a Center for Biological Diversity news release stated.

“It’s time to stop wasting stakeholder resources, including taxpayer money, civic energy and even much-needed faith in government,” said Gene Frick of the Sierra Club’s Santa Ana Mountains Task Force, an opponent of the project. “Nevada Hydro has been feeding too long at the public trough.”

The California Public Utilities Commission decision can be found at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/published/agenda/docs/3294_results.htm

Martha L. Bridges May 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Best news we could wake up to this morning! We should all be grateful for the tremendous work that environmentally concerned individuals, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity have done to expose Nevada Hydro for what it is, and what it has done to drain millions of dollars and other crucial resources away from more the important needs and projects in our community. I hope that voters and EVMWD ratepayers will also realize that our elected officials on the water board have exercised complicity in wasting our money. We need to elect better, more knowledgable people to the EVMWD board of directors; people who will focus on what is genuinely valuable to the public they are supposed to be serving.
Hope May 25, 2012 at 03:17 PM
This is SUPER news!!! A BIG thank you to those that took part in preventing this from happening.
Martha L. Bridges May 25, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Yes, and especially Andy Morris, who knows little or nothing about water resources. He will only use his time on the EVMWD board to gain a foothold on a politican career.
Diana May 25, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I for one hope that this project is finally dead and gone, it seems to keep rearing it's ugly head up from time to time!!!!!!!!!!
Warren May 25, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I hope this is finally OVER! Now, how about giving us a rate reduction after wasting our (CUSTOMERS) money for your greed.
Popeye May 25, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Tea Baggers are whining that this was disapproved..ha ha
Kathe Sabetzadeh May 25, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Hey Popeye - I would consider myself a tea party member and I am very happy with the decision on this LEAPS project. Don't pigeon hole people into one political position or another. I think that liberals and conservatives both are in agreement that this project would have been a disaster all around.
jill smith May 26, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Ending this project was a grassroots movement, and proves what we can do when we work together.
jill smith May 26, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Nevada Hydro is a far cry from a legitimate company. It consisted of two men that are con artists. LEAPS is a boondoggle idea that would've cost over a billion dollars and endangered many lives. Fire and radiation secondary to power lines. If the dam broke post earth quake many would be killed. The list goes on and on. EVMWD should be ashamed of themselves. The article says 4 mill was spent on this boondoggle, but the numbers are higher. I know over 6 mill was spent, but if every penny was accounted for I bet it would be up to 10 million dollars wasted. This project has been in the works for over 10 years. I looked at some of the billing the, legal bills are outrageous. Morris used LEAPS as an excuse to travel to Washington D.C. to further his political career, and thought nothing of spending 5 grand for 3 days of travel expenses . I couldn't get an itemized bill it just said travel expenses...... gee I wonder why? The party's over Morris. Martha is right EVMWD controls alot of money and we need honest, knowledgeable people on the board, so know who your voting for.

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